March 16, 2008

My iPod Touch is Rarely Used for Music

Almost three months ago, we welcomed the iPod Touch to our family.

At the time, I was looking forward to taking videos with me on trips, for surfing the Web via WiFi, and for listening to scads of music. After all, Steve Jobs once said the iPhone, and ergo the iPod Touch, had the best iPod experience ever created. But it's been interesting to see that while my first iPod was all about music, the iPod Touch hardly ever gets used for that purpose.

So what am I doing with my iPod Touch? The overwhelming majority of activity is to browse the Web via WiFi, whether just away from the laptop, or at a friend's home with WiFi. Given the iPod synchronizes its bookmarks with my Safari Web browser, and with the addition of widgets for e-Mail, stocks and weather, just about anything I need is a few "touches" away. And the iPod Touch, to be honest, is the best device I can think of for taking the Web into places where a laptop wouldn't make sense. Ever take a PowerBook into the men's room at work? Didn't think so. But an iPod Touch fits right in your pocket...

As expected, I have used the iPod Touch for viewing movies and TV shows, especially on plane flights. Before my flight to Boston last month, and for this shorter trip to Phoenix, I made sure to rent one or two films before taking off. While Apple hasn't gained the fullest of movie libraries for rent yet, I've found a number of titles worth watching, especially when my alternative is craning my neck to see whatever United or US Airways has on tap. (My latest iPod Touch movie? Punch Drunk Love... and you can skip it.)

With Web access and TV or film, the need to play music is fading. While on my laptop, I almost always have iTunes going, but for my iPod Touch, iTunes is almost a forgotten app.

Recent Apple advances have made iTunes music even less important since I first got my iPod Touch. I've added custom icons to my home screen for Facebook,, FriendFeed and Twitter, and each offers me one-click access to where I'm most frequently engaged and communicating. I'd have added buttons for TechMeme and SiteMeter as well, but so far, I've chosen appearance over functionality, as neither site has a good custom icon. (Here's a great "how to" from Webomatica.)

Gaining the new widgets now puts .Mac and GMail in my pocket, with send and receive functionality. It's not quite able to replace the Blackberry yet, but I've grown quite adept at touch typing on it, more so than I had originally expected. Adding movie rentals to iTunes also made going to P2P networks for films much less inviting.

I'm near my laptop at home and work so often it's a rare time that I need to use my iPod Touch for music. I'm glad it's there if I ever need to tap into it, but over time, it's becoming less and less. Now it's a lot less about finding the right playlist, and a lot more about finding the best open wireless hotspot. That's more than I would have expected when Apple first debuted their original iPod years ago.